The Best Outdoor Privacy Screen in 2021 - Backyard Boss
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The Best Outdoor Privacy Screen in 2021

I’m grateful for the bushes outside my office window. Well, I was until the landscaper hacked them way too far back. I used to have privacy, now not so much. And sitting here all day working at home by the window where all the maintenance guys hang out during the day is just darn awkward since I’d like to have my curtains open.

If you have a situation even remotely like mine, whether it’s your pool patio, a shared balcony, or an alley-exposed backyard, an outdoor privacy screen is just the ticket. Finding the right one, however, can be a little tricky. So, with that in mind, I’ve rounded up the five best privacy screens I could find for outdoor use in multiple situations.

Best Outdoor Privacy Screen

VIFAH V163 Malibu Outdoor Wood Privacy Screen - The Best Outdoor Privacy Screen in 2021VIFAH V163 Malibu Outdoor Wood Privacy Screen
  • Dimensions: 96 x 46 inches
  • Made of: Eucalyptus hardwood
  • Stand alone: Yes
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VINGLI Patio Retractable Garden Privacy Divider - The Best Outdoor Privacy Screen in 2021VINGLI Patio Retractable Garden Privacy Divider
  • Dimensions: 118 x 71 inches
  • Made of: Aluminum and polyester
  • Stand alone: No
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Cisvio Privacy Fence Screen and Shade Cloth - The Best Outdoor Privacy Screen in 2021Cisvio Privacy Fence Screen and Shade Cloth
  • Dimensions: 4 x 50 or 6 x 50 feet
  • Made of: Reinforced outdoor fabric
  • Stand alone: No
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LRZCGB Hanging Privacy Screen - The Best Outdoor Privacy Screen in 2021LRZCGB Hanging Privacy Screen
  • Dimensions: 15.7 x 15.7 inches
  • Made of: PVC
  • Stand alone: No
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Veradek Star Decorative Outdoor Divider Set - The Best Outdoor Privacy Screen in 2021Veradek Star Decorative Outdoor Divider Set
  • Dimensions: 45 x 24 inches
  • Made of: Powder coated galvanized steel
  • Stand alone: Yes
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Why You Can Trust Us

For most of my life, I’ve lived in the woods. Surrounding trees made privacy an automatic thing. But in recent years, becoming an adult, moving into an apartment in the city, and discovering that privacy is something you have to fight for, I’ve learned the value of a good privacy screen. I’ve done tons of research and looked for the best for all my living situations.

I can’t say I’ve owned hundreds of privacy screens, but I’ve researched hundreds, recommended dozens, and created a few for my home over the years. I’m happy to turn those hours of investigation and hands-on experience into a useful list for you to help make the search easier and faster, whatever type of screen you’re looking for.

Best for Freestanding Use

VIFAH V163 Malibu Outdoor Wood Privacy Screen
    Freestanding 4-panel wooden privacy screen for outdoor use



Why We Like It: The VIFAH wood privacy screen is an attractive, freestanding option that offers a little bit of shade and privacy in a portable way.

The screen is made of beautiful, hardwood eucalyptus. It has four panels for easy standing and creating barriers around unattractive objects (trash cans, air conditioners) or separating spaces in the yard. The divider is safe for outdoor use, thanks to the sturdy construction and quality materials used. The wood won’t warp, grow fungus, rust, catch scratches, or rot.

Who Should Buy It: Anyone looking for a smaller, portable, freestanding privacy screen will find this attractive option a great choice for blocking views.

Best for Retractable Screens

VINGLI Patio Retractable Garden Privacy Divider
    Retractable, permanent privacy screen for side of house or patio



Why We Like It: This practical retractable screen by VINGLI is both neutral in looks and attractive in one, and it’s customizable for use in many ways and spaces.

The retractable screen is made of synthetic fibers, aluminum, and aluminum alloy for a strong, durable, long-lasting privacy screen. It’s easy to install with the cartridge wall-mounted design, and affixes on wood and concrete.

Who Should Buy It: This retractable shade and privacy awning are perfect for anyone looking for a “part-time” but permanent privacy screen option that will last for many years.

Best for Larger Fences

Cisvio Privacy Fence Screen and Shade Cloth
    Fence overlay privacy screen for privacy and shade in backyard



Why We Like It: This easy-install privacy and shade screen is great for the backyard and pool fence alike, protecting you from 90% of harmful UV rays when positioned appropriately on your existing fence.

The privacy screen uses reinforced binding and anti-rust grommets to easily affix to your existing fence with zip ties. These materials ensure a long-lasting hold, while the screen itself is made of high-quality materials to keep you shaded and hidden for many years to come. And when you want to remove the screen, simply cut the zip ties and fold them up for easy storage.

Who Should Buy It: Anyone looking for an easy-to-install, nonpermanent shade and privacy screen to turn their existing fence into a privacy fence, with a little UV-blocking power to boot.

Best for Patio and Porch

LRZCGB Hanging Privacy Screen
    Decorative privacy screen panels for hanging



Why We Like It: These privacy panels are gorgeous and make for the perfect hanging divider for shared patios and balconies or the end of a porch.

The panels come in 15.7 x 15.7-inch squares, meaning you can piece together as few or as many as you need for the right fit for your space. The panels are made of safe-to-use PVC. They’re lightweight and easy to install with just a few hooks.

Who Should Buy It: These privacy panels are great for anyone with a shared outdoor space, a big front porch that requires a little privacy or shade, or for anyone looking for some added “something” to boost the aesthetics in the backyard on a pergola, deck, or other structure.

Best for Decorative Uses

Veradek Star Decorative Outdoor Divider Set
    Decorative free standing privacy screen panel



Why We Like It: The gorgeous Veradek Outdoor Privacy Panels are one of the most attractive and functional free-standing privacy panels for outdoor use available.

The panels are made of powder-coated, galvanized steel that’s super long-lasting and weather resistant. The metal panels may be purchased in any of the six decorative designs, as well, plus they’re taller and wider than most other options out there. And because they’re stand-alone, they’re easy to install either horizontally or vertically, depending on your needs.

Who Should Buy It: The Veradek panels are great for anyone looking for a portable, solid, weatherproof decorative privacy panel for us in multiple places outdoors.

Tips for Finding the Right Privacy Screen For Your Home

Wooden privacy screen in front of pool
Image credits: VIFAH via Amazon

Having a privacy screen will make all the difference in making your backyard feel safe, secure, and private, but the wrong one could be a big waste of time and energy. Use these tips to make sure you’re finding the right type of screen for your needs.

Decide on Privacy Level

As you can see from the screen we’ve collected together, there is a wide range of types of screens that provide different levels of privacy (and shade).

If you’re trying to keep prying eyes out, you’ll want a “solid” screen with no gaps. Gaps or no gaps could do the trick, depending on the angle. If you’re just looking for a hint of privacy that adds to the aesthetics, some of the panels and decorative choices are your best bet.

Determine What Type of Screen You Need

Secondly, the type of screen you need will vary from space to space. Some folks will do better with a hanging screen that leaves open space beneath for a porch railing. Others might need a portable panel that can shift with the sun. 

You might want something to keep out the sun during summery days but want to let in the warmth more easily during cooler months. Retractable, portable, hanging, freestanding screens – they each serve a purpose.

Measure and Remeasure

Having the right size privacy screen will make or break the effectiveness of the screen. Too large, and it won’t fit, meaning you’ll have to trim it down or alter it in some way. 

Too small will make you still exposed to prying eyes. Make sure you know exactly how tall and wide you need it to be. You might need more panels than you think.

After determining your privacy level, the type of screen you’re looking for, and measure your space, other things you’ll need to consider are the color and material.

How We Picked

Because there are so many types of outdoor privacy screens and different reasons to need one, we decided first on the most important categories. We knew some of you would be looking for portable, some for patio, some for permanent, and some for semi-permanent. Once we had these in mind, we looked for the top-rated, best-constructed, most attractive options.

Each screen on the list is well-made, highly recommended by real-life users, and is reasonably easy to install or use as intended. Whether made of wood, PVC, or metal, each has specific design features that make it stand out among the others, and these features are why we chose the options.

Adding Privacy Anywhere

Whether you need to screen off an area, try to keep the yard divided for multi-purpose use, or want to hide some unsightly but necessary things in the yard, these privacy screens all have the potential to do the trick, one way or another. 

For the most versatile use, the VIFAH V163 Malibu Outdoor Wood Privacy Screen adds a lovely touch of beautiful wood while doing all of the above. That’s why it’s our top recommendation for outdoor privacy screens for most situations.